What are the benefits of Folic Acid for pregnancy

By Dr.Pranay Shah

Pregnancy is very crucial. The mother has to be very careful in her diet. She needs to intake all the right nutrients to supplement the baby with the required nutrients. It is not only after conceived that the woman should take her diet seriously, but also if she is trying to get pregnant or is taking a fertility treatment from the best fertility clinic in India.

The pregnant woman should consult a dietician and the doctor for prenatal supplements that might be required for her to take during or before pregnancy.

If the couple is opting for surrogate treatment in India, they should get a prenatal test done for the surrogate and make sure that she is given the supplements for the deficiencies in her body. Some women lack in some nutrient while some lack in some other. This means that the diet plan will not be the same for all the pregnant women, however, there are some nutrients that are extremely important in pregnancy like the folic acid.

Folic acid is one of the most important nutrients prescribed along with the prenatal vitamins. The folic acid is used in the child development phase by the woman’s body and hence its intake is very important. Folic acid is actually is the synthesized form of vitamin B that is called folate.

The benefits of taking folic acid are:

  1. The principal role of the folic acid in the child development phase is the building of the neural system and the brain. While the woman’s body is developing the brain and the neural system of the fetus, the body extracts the folic acid from the mother. Thus the mother should be supplemented with folic acid to make sure that there is no complexity in the development phase or in the mother’s body.  

  2. Folic acid helps in the child development phase. The child defects like cleft lip, cleft palate and some heart defects are caused due to lack of folic acid. All of these complexities that the child is prone to have, can be eliminated if the folic acid is taken in sufficient quantities.

  3. When the woman’s body is extracting folic acid from her body to pass on to the baby, the woman is exposed to a threat of blood pressure disorder called preeclampsia. A regular dose of folic acid can avoid this and keep the woman safe and well.

  4. The lack of folic acid is said to affect the genes in the child. Genetic defects in the woman can lead to miscarriage. Thus the risk of miscarriage can be avoided by taking folic acid.

  5. If you have suffered miscarriage or child loss previously due to genetic disorders, taking folic acid as prescribed by the doctor will reduce the risk of any kind of genetic risk for the second child and the second child will be born completely normal and healthy.

  6. Folic acid plays an important role in building the DNA of the child and also the red blood cells in the fetus. This leads to high chances that the child in his entire life is exposed to disorders like:

    • problems with movement

    • bladder and bowel

    • learning difficulties.

What are the sources of folic acid?

Folica acid can be taken in two forms either through food supplements or through the foods which are rich in folic acid. The natural sources of folic acid are beef liver, lentils, green vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and other greens orange juice and other citrus foods.

The doctor would prescribe the vitamins of varying content at different stages of pregnancy. The dosage can be with every meal or once daily, again depending on the requirement to the woman’s body. Typically the intake at different stages of pregnancy and pre-pregnancy is:

  1. Around 400 micrograms of folic acid is a good quantity to be consumed by a pregnant woman.

  2. Some prenatal medicines contain around 600 micrograms of folic acid. The women who are found to be deficient in folic acid are often prescribed with prenatal medicines.

Why should women take folic acid before pregnancy?

Many times, the pregnancy doesn’t come to light until it is 4 to 6 weeks in the pregnancy already.  In this phase, the woman is not taking the dosage for folic acid as she is not aware. During this phase, the lack of folic acid can affect child development and result in undesired circumstances. To avoid this, when a couple decides on having a baby, the woman should start consuming folic acid rich food and also begin with prenatal medicines to improve the folic acid levels in the woman.

Folic is acid is extremely important for women in pregnancy. They should take the external supplements to support their pregnancy but with a doctor’s consultancy.

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